Port Department seeks CRZ Permission for Blacktop Road

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Recently NGT had denied permission for 4 lane road on Kasarkod Tonka Beach, which happens to be nesting ground of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles.

In what seems to be an effort to make one small step at a time the port department is seeking CRZ permission for the blacktop road. This seems to be similar strategy that the vested interests used to create a so called “katcha road”. They probably aim to get a single lane blacktop road for now and eventually seek expansion to 4 lane road.

We publicly share the exact details from the application below:page1image587376

The Subject was placed in the KSCZMA meeting held on 06.02.2023. Since the issue is before the Hon’ble NGT (vide OA No.76 of 2022 (SZ)), as per the request made by the petitioner through her legal representative, an opportunity was given to hear their submission in this regard.

After detailed discussion and deliberation the Authority defered the subject and directed the legal representative and the proponent to submit all the required

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information and relevant documents within two days time to take further action in the matter. Now both of them submitted the information.

In compliance to the decision taken in the earlier meeing, the legal representative for the petitioner has submitted the following:

“Existence of Kacha Road: The statement made by the Port Department that there existed a “Kacha road” along the sea shore as connecting at Kasarkod village for development of Honnavar port is false ab initio.

It is imperative to note that, there existed no “Kacha road” along the sea shore in Kasarkod village before January 2022. The villagers of the Kasarkod village used a mud path or Kaludhari’ to access their homes on the sea shore and the same was used as fish drying area during the day. However, the said path existed in patches and did not provide connectivity for a length of 4km.

The port department since January 2022 at the peak of the Turtle Nesting season, dumped red soil, boulders on the sandy beach/ Sea shore of the kasarkod village and used heavy machineries to level sand dunes and constructed a road from the boundary of the Port Land at Sy. No. 305 (44ha) through the Kasarkod village in an attempt to connect the port land to NH-66. In the monsoon of 2022, most of the laid road was washed during the high tide and what exists today is barely a 2-lane broken path that was laid by the Port Department. The petitioner herein has challenged the construction of the said road in absence of CRZ clearance before the Hon’ble Tribunal. Therefore, submission of a proposal to use the illegal road constructed in violation of CRZ law is an attempt of creating fait accompli situation.

More over on perusal of the Bhuvan Map extracted from the website ISRO, Department of space, Government of India with the road layer does not show existence of any kacha road on the sea shore of Kasarkod village”.

The project proponent submitted the following clarification with regard to objections raised in the earlier meeting:

“1. It is submitted that the existing Kachha road that runs parallel to the beach from NH- 66 at Kasarkod upto the proposed port area in CRZ III (road with gravel mixture) was developed while forming the construction of seawalls for protection from sea erosion. This fact has been elucidated in the site inspection report of Regional Director (Env) Karwar which has been taken on record by the Hon’ble NGT South Zone, Chennai in its interim order dated: 21.10.2022

The proposal of usage of Kachha road along the seashore as connecting road at Kasarkod village for development of Honnavar Port for issue of CRZ clearance was considered in the DCZMC meeting held on 25.11.2022. This proposal was recommended to

the KSCZMA by the Regional Director (Environment) Karwar on 29.11.2022. It is clearly


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stated in the letter that the existing Kachha road was formed for construction of seawalls to protect the area from sea erosion and the potholes have been made good using murram (red earth) and Jelly.

However, at present, this road is being used by the local inhabitants as an access road to their houses. This fact has been agreed by the petitioner himself. Therefore, it is clear that the road was not formed originally for the local inhabitants but was formed for the transportation of construction materials like boulders, granite stones and other materials to the construction site for the formation of seawalls.

2. The port limits of the Honnavar Port have been notified by the Government of Karnataka vide Notification No: PWD 107 PSP 2013. Dated: 09.12.2013 as per thepowers conferred by Section 5 of the Indian Ports Act 1908”.

In the said Notification, the limits on the eastern side is Stated as Seashore of Honnavar 50mtrs above High Water Mark between North and South boundary mark.

In compliance to the directions issued by the Hon’ble NGT in O.A No. 76/2022 vide Order dated 21.10.2022,

“14. Therefore, the 2nd respondent is given the liberty to approach the authorities for the usage of the existing road by making an application to the SCZMA-Karnataka and followed by an application before the SEIAA-Karnataka and let the same be examined by the authorities and pass appropriate orders as per law”.

The matter was placed and deliberated. The submission made by the Petitioner through his legal counsel and also the Project Proponent were heard. After perusing the metarials on record and averments made there under, KSCZMA discussed and decided to exempt the use of the existing Kacha road in as is where is basis only, as the proposed area falls in notified port limits where NDZ is not applicable in such areas, falling within notified port limits, as per provision in para 4 (i) (a) of CRZ notification 2011.

As per the decision taken in 40th KSCZMA meeting held on 27.02.2023 CRZ Clearance was given to exempt the use of the existing Kacha road in as is where is basis only, as the proposed area falls in notified port limits where NDZ is not applicable in such areas, falling within notified port limits, as per provision in para 4 (i) (a) of CRZ notification 2011.

Further, Hon’ble NGT, South Zone, Chennai in the final order dated 26.09.2023 in the matter of OA 76/2022 has stated that:

“While considering the renewal of the Environmental Clearance, the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) – Karnataka and the Page 56 of 83

Karnataka State Coastal Zone Management Authority (SCZMA) are directed to consider the question of using the Kacha Road which was permitted by the Karnataka SCZMA for usage of Respondent No.2 (M/s. Honnavar Port Private Limited) in ‘as is where is basis’, as per rules in vogue.

The said kacha Road falls within CRZ III B NDZ area as per CRZ Notifiaction 2019 and this area is a notified Port limit where NDZ is not applicable.

Also, Proponent has submitted that as per CZMP 2019 map (25) the kacha road area doesn’t fall under Turtle nesting areas and also they have provided the mitigation plan approved by competent Authority, PCCF, Wild Life Govt of Karnataka.

Now, Executive Director, Honnavar Port Pvt Ltd, has requested to exempt them from obtaining CRZ clearance for black topping of the said kacha Road, as the kacha road is in notified Port limits, where NDZ is not applicable as per Para 2.3.3 note of CRZ Notification 2019.

The Proposal to excempt the proponent from CRZ clearance for black topping of the said kaccha road falling within CRZ IIIB and port limit, wherein NDZ is not applicable is placed before the KSCZMA.

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